Heart-work is hard work. It is serious business and it may not always feel great on the inside and look pretty on the outside. It often requires we experience much discomfort , and it won't always bring us instant gratification, or provide us the answers we need right away. It also does not guarantee that our work and progress will be well-received by others. But this journey of cultivating a "sound heart" is our business and the opinions that people and the world have about us is none of our business.
Every day, caring for our hearts is a struggle. And while this journey has many rewards, it requires us to make difficult choices.
Prioritizing the nourishment of our heart means we do what is best for our heart infront of God and not necessarily what is easy or feels good to our nafs and egos. Doing this work means we sit in the discomfort of seeking knowledge and not always feeling good right away. Sometimes it means that we take time reevaluate our priorities, values, and truths. It often means that we walk towards God EVEN when we do not want to or when we have to drag our hearts.
Sometimes this heart-work also means we place boundaries between the things and people that do not nourish our heart. Sometimes it means we will appear more distant and not as available. Sometimes it means we stop explaining ourselves and actions even if it means others will misconstrue our intentions. Sometimes it means we don't give our attention to every external stimuli, whether that is in our immediate environment or online and social media. Sometimes, it means we listen to our heart when it gives off an energy that tells us to keep a distance from certain environments, actions, or even people. Sometimes it means that what we say or do might not be accepted by the majority.
I have never encountered something more difficult than working on my own heart and freeing it from the shackles imposed upon it by my own ego as well as freeing it from the shackles we allowed society and others to impose upon it as well. The heart is the hardest thing to care for. It is so fragile and so sensitive to what our mind is exposed to, to what our eyes see, what our ears hear, what our tongues speak, and what our limbs do. And once we grasp this, once we understand the heaviness of the responsibility, once we begin learning how to care for and prioritize this most sacred part of us, the more its voice becomes louder and the voice of everything that doesn't serve it starts to fade away.
And as you begin investing in your heart-work, you will most certainly face challenges and it won't always be easy, but please know this: it will also be the most worthwhile investment you can make in your life!
Heart-work is what is most deserving of our energy, time, money, and efforts, for it is what allows us to walk towards God in the best of ways. It is what allows us to interact with our human experience in a way that serves the benefit and wellness of our soul not only in this world, but in the next.
The work you do on your heart NEVER goes in vain and its is not minimal in the sight of God. Every struggle and every discomfort you experience as you work on your heart is never forgotten by God. In fact, you will find Him helping you every step of the way. Every bit of effort, every step, and every intention you set to walk closer towards God, to care for your heart, and to tackle all the mental and emotional obstacles along the way, is seen and appreciated by God. Your efforts will never be lost with Him. God reminds us of this in the following verse in the Qur'an:
Their Lord has answered them: ‘I will not allow the deeds of any one of you to be lost, whether you are male or female, each is like the other [in rewards].
God will show you the fruits of your heart-work and efforts in so many areas in your life: in your relationships, in your self, in your mental and emotional wellness, in the choices you begin to make, in the people you choose to surround yourself with, in the way you love, in the way you communicate, in the doors He opens for you, in the truths He allows you to witness, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, in the joy, peace, and liberation HE will allow you to experience as you draw closer to Him and prioritize the deeds that will allow you to meet Him in the best of states!
May God help us take care of our hearts in the most noble way so that we can return it back to Him sound and whole. ❤
"But only he (will prosper) that brings to God a sound (or whole) heart;" (Qur'an, 26:89)
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"Educating the Mind Without Educating the Heart, is No Education at All."
About the Author:
Dr. Marwa Assar is a psychologist, educator, and founder of The H.O.M.E
Institute. She is dedicated to providing psycho-spiritual education and empowerment through an Islamic psychological lens. Click here to learn more about Dr. Marwa and her work.